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Home / Design, Develop, Deploy! / Website Content Explained

Website Content Explained

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A Guide to Web Site Content

1. Introduction

For a web site to succeed commercially it needs to achieve high rankings in search engines to attract visitors and it needs to convert those visitors into prospects and clients by convincing them you are someone they want to do business with. The major contributor to achieving these two objectives is the content of the web pages that make up the site, the words and the images that present and explain who you are, what you offer and why the visitor should buy from you.

You can write the words yourself, often the best route as you know your business better than anyone else, or we can put you in touch with a copywriter to handle it for you. You can produce your own images or we can point you at image libraries containing many thousands of images or we can put you in touch with a photographer well versed in taking photographs for use on the web. However you tackle the issue you should be aware that bad spelling and grammar will not only put you in a bad light with your visitors but will be detected by search engines and count against you when your site is ranked. It is essential that textual content is well written for the site to achieve its goals.

Images should be of adequate quality for viewing on the web. Poor quality images let your site down and so should be avoided at all costs. If you provide our designers with high quality images they will convert them into the required format. If you provide grainy, blurred images they can do little to improve them.

Images can do a great deal to explain and illustrate what your site has to offer but are not sufficient on their own. Search engines cannot see images, only words, so a page full of images alone will not be found in searches. If the images are annotated with text describing what they represent that text will be read by search engines and will help the site be ranked for those words.

NetSecrets produce a wide range of web sites, from simple 4 or 5 page online brochures to major ecommerce sites with hundreds of pages and sophisticated facilities. Despite this the basics of good site content apply to both ends of the scale and this document sets out to explain these basics to assist clients in working with our designers to achieve the best results possible for their online business.

2. Home Page

Every web site has a home page. It is the first page most visitors will see and is also the most important page for attaining good search engine rankings, as search engines give more weight to its content than to any other page.

The first paragraph should explain what products or services you offer using the main keywords visitors might search for to find your site. It can also highlight what makes you worth doing business with. Very often the second paragraph will be a list of bullet points. Either a fuller list of your products and services or features and benefits you offer. The final paragraph will often explain the features of the web site, for example explaining how to place orders in your online store or how to request a quotation. You should aim for no less than 150 words of descriptive text on your home page.

3. Contact Details

This page should contain full contact details for your business, such as mailing address, phone, fax, email, ICQ, etc. If appropriate include departmental contacts, e.g. sales, accounts, shipments, support, and if there are named individuals include their photographs to make the site more personal to the visitor. If you are open to the public list your opening hours and if appropriate include maps and directions to your premises.

The latest Company's Act also obliges limited companies to state their place of registration, company registration number and registered office. It is also important to state your VAT registration number if the site has ecommerce facilities.

4. Online Enquiry Form

Individual visitors to your site will have a variety of preferences as to how they will make contact with you. Some will phone you to ask for more information, some would rather email you and others will prefer to fill in an online enquiry form. The more methods of contact you provide, the more visitors you will turn into prospects.

Typically the online enquiry form will ask for name and email address as required fields with optional fields for company name, address, phone, fax and comments/queries. You should consider if there is any additional data you want to ask for in the form. Bear in mind that although it can be useful to get as much detail as possible it can put the visitor off if the data entry is too onerous.

5. Products/Services Page(s)

The pages that describe your products and/or services are those most likely to persuade the visitor to do business with you. They should give concise and unambiguous information on the products or services in order to generate trust in the visitor. There is often a debate as to whether web pages should include prices or not. In our experience it is best to include prices if there is a standard price list as lack of transparency in this area can engender suspicion. The site structure should make it easy for the visitor to navigate to the pages that interest them and the pages themselves should be of a consistent layout as far as possible.

There are still a number of people who like printed information so it is usually a good idea to include product information as downloadable PDF documents as well as in the form of web pages.

6. Information Pages

Information pages provide the visitor with background information rather than product- or service-specific details. These pages are used to establish your credentials as a company the visitor wants to spend money with, and usually offer frequently updated content that give the visitor a reason to come back to your site repeatedly. They also provide content for search engines to index thereby enhancing your position in search engine rankings.

The top level information page will usually provide links to some or all of the following:

  • About Us/Company Profile: company history, mission statement, key personnel, position in the market place, memberships of trade or professional bodies.
  • Links: other sites of interest to your visitors, link exchanges with complementary but noncompeting businesses, links to trade or professional organisations.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's): establishes your expertise in your field of business.
  • Testimonials: establishes your reputation.
  • Case Studies: real life examples of clients benefiting from your expertise. These should be added frequently, not less than one per quarter.
  • Newsletters: news items, major orders won, new products, industry news. Again should be added to once per quarter as minimum.
  • Downloads/Resources: price lists, order forms, maps and directions, product data sheets, application forms, etc.

7. Sample Sites

Sites that illustrate the points made above can be accessed from our web site portfolio page by clicking here

These examples are by no means exhaustive but are a starting point. If you want to discuss site content in more detail contact the NetSecrets design team.

8. Conclusion

A decision needs to be made early in the project how the site content is to be produced. The web site should not go live with empty pages awaiting content. It is better to go live with a small number of well written pages and add more later than it is to have a half finished site. Our designers will provide a design that will make it relatively straightforward to add content in the future and all websites need fresh content on a regular basis via new products or services or through case studies and newsletters.

A further document is provided by NetSecrets to assist in defining the structure and navigation system for your website.

We hope you find this document helpful. If you have any suggestions for improvements please email or call us on 01905 672591.

To return to the design home page click here.

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